24 Nov 2023: I send £9000+ from the HSBC UK to Cathay United Bank Taiwan. The money arrived to intermediary bank (CITI BANK UK) soon. And the HSBC app tracker shown the transfer is in progress for 5 working days which means stuck in intermediary bank.

1 Dec 2023: I realised the last 3 digits of the recipent's swift code I entered was wrong, it should be XXX (headquarter) or the correct branch identify code. Then I contacted HSBC UK to try to recall the money. However they told me they can't guarantee the funds can be recalled successfully.

I don't know whether the money is still in CITI Bank UK or went to Cathay United Bank Taiwan alreay. If I entered last 3 digits Swift Code wrong, can this international transfer be completed successfully? Or I have to wait the refund, so how long can this action take?

  • 2
    You'll need to work with your sender bank. It is probably stuck and someone is trying to figure it out manually. But noone here can really know.
    – littleadv
    Commented Dec 3, 2023 at 19:29
  • For SWIFT transfers with large sums that I don't want to lose, I always get the recipient to go to the bank and ask for a letter with the bank's letter head to show the correct info. This way, if there is an error, it's on the bank because they gave me the wrong info.
    – Nelson
    Commented Dec 5, 2023 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


If the swift code + account number results in a meaningless account that doesn't exist [statistically the more likely option], then you are in luck: Eventually the receiving bank will acknowledge the error and send funds back. If the bank would keep those funds, it would be theft, so you can rest assured, they won't do it. For 9k, unfortunately that might take a good amount of time; 1 week [time you've waited so far] is unfortunately probably the earliest you could ever expect resolution. These things are way more manual than you might imagine.

Make sure you are asking for updates from your bank + the intermediary bank on a routine basis until this gets resolved. One of those situations where it can help to become more aggravating to your bank, than the alternative of putting in the work to solve your problem.

If the swift code + account number results in a real combination that applies to some random person, then the situation becomes more difficult. Technically, the person who received the payment would need to allow the payment to be retracted. The bank does not have authorization to retract a payment simply based on the fact that you tell them it was made incorrectly. If the person on the other end does not agree to retract it, the only resolution would probably be to sue them, a situation made more difficult based on (a) finding out who they are, and (b) probably not being in the same country.

Good luck!

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